[ExI] New Hope for Alzheimer's Disease Vaccine

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Tue Apr 8 22:56:47 UTC 2008

On Tuesday 08 April 2008, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Most of the basic science breakthroughs which have ultimately given
> us the medical care we enjoy has been publicly funded, and elaborate
> bureaucratic hoops have had to be jumped through to obtain that
> funding. Moreover, although they need money for equipment, most of
> the scientists doing this research have not been pursuing personal
> profit (it's crazy to go into research if that's what you want), but
> the approval of their peers. The free market only has a role to play
> when someone catches wind of a marketable product.

Stathis, you sparked a few neurons, so I'm going to run with my own 
direction here. First, how much can we do on our own? What do I mean by 
on our own? It mostly means by our own responsibility for our own 
health, i.e., individually, what can we do to make sure that we can 
prevent diseases and if we do get diseases, then how can we 
collectively leverage our time and energy into fighting those diseases 
without having to rely on all of these socioeconomic factors? There are 
many people that are not able to get health care as it is, and I don't 
wish to comment on the silly money-based system where we get to 
disregard people simply because they do not have enough 'money'. Those 
situations bare a striking resemblance to the common state of not being 
in medical control in the first place. So what can we do? 

This question has been asked by the venture capitalists and the 
scientists that fund startups, and as far as I can tell, they get 
insights and run with them. But this is not a systematic approach to 
solving specific diseases. It works, yes, but then we have the FDA and 
tons of testing that does not necessarily apply to all cases of 
individuals who might find those molecules or modifications useful. 
There's just no way that the FDA can do as many tests as they would 
like to, and the number of individuals signing up for FDA testing, or 
the animal testing (I don't have any numbers on this) -- in general, 
it's just a big giant mess from what I can imagine. How could it be 
otherwise? We have no standardized human testing module nor ways to 
leverage our individual differences in the medical system. There's 
simply no way that we can do giant medical combinatorial libraries, 
unless we're working on the molecular level like with aptamers, but 
even then that does not really work for the diseases that must be 
fought on a cellular or tissue level instead of molecular. The 
cellular/tissue level seems just beyond our ability to simulate without 
Markram's funding (heh), and definitely beyond our physical means to 
experiment with in any combinatorial manner. So what hope would the 
individual have at the moment of doing anything about a medical 
condition? It takes massive experiments to narrow down possibilities if 
you don't have any clue. My first reaction is to offer self-replicating 
computation or self-replicating experiments as the solution, however I 
dislike relying too much on any one single idea, so what are the 

Perhaps a method of preparation, not for worst case scenarios, but for 
just-in-case, so that you can cope with anything that comes up. How, 
though? Wouldn't you have to traverse the disciplines that the problems 
show up in? That's just-in-time learning. The alternative is learning 
it all upfront, which is tons of overhead to managing the human body. 
Perhaps specialization [of individuals] isn't too bad ... as long as 
it's in small groups, rather than some large, institutional plan. But 
this is only in the mean time, until we get those other (more 
productive) alternatives up and running. Which takes me back to 
a 'knowledge database' that I have been planning (not ai, no grounding 
problems since it's linked back to people and contacts) and setting up 
in the background, so that in the situation that you do come across 
some new term, there's a way to get information and relevant software 
to the situation or engineering project and so on. It may sound 
intense, but it happens to conveniently coincide with the goals of 
brute forcing a self-replicating machine. So. :)

- Bryan

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